Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most prevalent form of peripheral neuropathy. The efficacy of acupuncture in management of mild to moderate CTS has been investigated in limited studies with controversial results. The aim of this study was to assess the short-term effects of acupuncture in treatment of mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome.
In a randomized controlled trial study, participants were randomly assigned to either control group which night splinting, vitamin B1, B6 and sham acupuncture for four weeks were administered, or intervention group that underwent acupuncture in 8 sessions over 4 weeks and night splinting. The clinical symptoms using global symptom score (GSS) and electrophysiological parameters were assessed at baseline and four weeks after the intervention.
Of 72 patients met the inclusion criteria, 64 patients actually completed the 4 week intervention and were evaluated for the outcome. There was a statistically significant difference in GSS between two arms of treatment after the intervention (p < 0.001) Using repeated measure ANOVA, the GSS in acupuncture group was significantly different after 4 weeks (p <0.001). Among electrophysiological parameters, nerve conduction velocity (NCV) was significantly different between two groups after 4 weeks (p = 0.02). Other parameters showed no statistically significant difference after intervention (p > 0.05).
Our findings indicated that the acupuncture can improve the overall subjective symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and could be adopted in comprehensive care programs of these patients.